In Remembrance.

In Remembrance

Ron Carne
Lila Gosch
Jessica Holland
Jim Saxe
Larry Thatcher

Edward "Ned" Harper

Published by The Journal, May 10, 2023

Ned HarperEdward Neil (Ned) Harper passed peacefully on February 2, 2023. Ned was born on September 12, 1937, in Washington DC. He was the only child of Alan and Kathleen Harper: Alan, a federal government official, and Kathleen, a magazine editor and emigrant from Ireland. Ned lived in many places in his youth, including Washington DC, Montana, and Window Rock, Arizona. Losing both parents at an early age, he spent his high school years with relatives in Santa Fe and at a boarding school in New Hampshire.

Ned studied Political Science in college, first at Stanford and then University of New Mexico. During his graduate work he lived for a year in Brazil with his family while conducting research in Rio Di Janeiro and Brasilia. After a stint in California, he returned home to the four corners area for the remainder of his life, spending several years in Tsaile, Arizona, and then living in Durango for many years. Later, he lived in Shiprock, near Mancos, and in Cortez.

Ned devoted his career to public service working as an instructor at Dine College. He worked first at the Tsaile campus and then at the Ship Rock campus. He taught history and political science. He believed his highest purpose was to have large and positive impacts on the lives of his students.

In retirement, Ned volunteered time with KSJD radio and with the Montezuma County Democratic Party. He was greatly concerned about environmental issues and protecting public lands, as well as the welfare of people most in need.

He enjoyed traveling internationally, but was most focused on exploring and recreating in the American West. Over the years his attention shifted between various forms of boating, fishing, and skiing in the winter. He boated the rivers of the southwest, explored its deserts and mountains, and did an extended solo sea kayaking adventure in coastal Alaska. He was also passionate about live and recorded music across the full spectrum of music genres.

While Ned lived a rich life and had many stories to tell, he preferred to listen and learn about family, friends, and any new person he met. He led with curiosity and never ran short of questions to ask - indeed, he cared deeply about others' experiences and understood that the best way to connect was to actively listen to them. This connection with others led to his love of photography. Ned was almost always carrying his camera with people as his favorite subject.

Ned is survived by his wife Janis Nowlin, sons Sheperd, Joel, and Matt, grandchildren Jonathan, Elena, Colin, Lilly and Izzy, and great grandchildren, Grace and Allison.

Ned was a generous and loving guy

By Joann Johnson

Ned was a generous and loving guy. I shared a house with him, Devera and Paul for a bit. He had his boys over on weekends and that was fun. Great kids. We shared comics. Ned was a great cook who introduced me to lamb riblets. On the other hand, his son Joel refused to eat anything but peanut butter sandwiches.

Ned taught me to drive, even after I crashed his car on the first attempt. We were over on a little-trafficked road in Redwood City, off the bay, and he told me to turn into a parking lot of some company over there. As I turned, I ran down the stop sign at the entrance of the parking lot. I apologized profusely and embarrassedly to Ned who checked his car for damage and tried to right the stop sign. He suggested that we back away and continue on our way. We did and never spoke of that incident again. I’m a pretty decent driver now.

After moving to Colorado to teach at a Native American college, Ned would occasionally come back to the Bay Area for visits. He would pop up at Victoria’s house on Clara Drive. If we weren’t there, he’d leave us a message (but never a phone number to reach him!). I moved around a bit during that period while Victoria owned a house, so that became his lodestone for us. When Victoria sold her house, Ned couldn’t find us anymore.

Ned wasn’t big on tech. I tried keeping in contact via email, but Ned wasn’t good with the email. He responded years later to one message, saying he had changed his email server and only ran across my message when he opened the old email server looking for something. He told me he had married Janis, and I sent them anti-Trump hats back in 2016. He was proud of Shep and Joel: Shep was a firefighter specializing in wildfires. He ended his career training others to fight wildfires. Joel became a climatologist, living in Montana. Whenever I heard about climatologists and glaciers, I used to look for his name.


Edward Harper Obituary, The Journal, May 23, 2023. Link
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Ned was a generous and loving guy, by Joann Johnson, Stanford.